|Poll||Date||Sample||Berryhill (R)||Cardoza (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||41.5||58.5||Cardoza +17.0|
|SurveyUSA||10/5 - 10/6||612 LV||44||50||Cardoza +6|
|2008: Cardoza (D) Unopposed
||2008: Obama (D) 59%, McCain (R) 39%
|2006: Cardoza (D) 66%, Kanno (R) 34%||2004: Bush (R) 50%, Kerry (D) 49%|
|2004: Cardoza (D) 68%, Pringle (R) 32%||2000: Gore (D) 52%, Bush (R) 43%
10/24/10 -- SurveyUSA shows Cardoza right at 50 percent, which should cause him to breathe a sigh of relief. But he shouldn't get too comfortable; his lead is pretty tenuous.
For much of 2001, the 18th District dominated the political gossip mills. Conservative Democrat Gary Condit found himself embroiled in the scandal that ultimately destroyed his career when Chandra Levy, an intern with whom he had an affair, went missing and later turned up dead. Condit was never charged with any wrongdoing, but he nevertheless lost the Democratic primary to Dennis Cardoza.
Cardoza represents a district that stretches across California’s Central Valley. It is centered on Merced, but has arms that extend into the outer reaches of Fresno and the central portions of Modesto and Stockton. This area is increasingly a part of exurban San Francisco and was decimated in the aftermath of the housing collapse. This helps explain why Barack Obama performed ten points better in 2008 than John Kerry had four years earlier, one of the biggest shifts in any congressional district in the country.
Cardoza barely held this seat in the general election in 2002 but has won easily since then. He has cobbled together a voting record that places him at the conservative end of his party. Cardoza supported cap and trade legislation, however, and supported the President’s health care bill only after he secured projects for his district. He faces a quality opponent in Mike Berryhill, a member of the Turlock Irrigation District Board (an important post in this agricultural district) who has committed enough of his own money to compete with the incumbent.